Friday, July 8, 2022

Gold Coast’s first autonomous vehicle hits the road

The future of Gold Coast transport is being trialled, with Main Beach now home to the City’s first autonomous vehicle.

The Gold Coast Smart Shuttle Trial is part of an autonomous vehicle research program conducted by Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) in collaboration with the City of Gold Coast Council, with the support of vehicle manufacturer EasyMile and Kinetic owned Surfside Buslines.

“Autonomous vehicles are an example of emerging transport technology that will revolutionise the way we travel,” Councillor, Darren Taylor said.

“It’s exciting to now have the opportunity to test them out in real world situations.”

Following extensive mapping and testing, the RACQ Smart Shuttle will operate a free passenger service between 11am and 3pm seven days a week until December 2022.

The shuttle will follow a fixed 2.4km route around Main Beach, travelling up to a speed of 18km/h.

There will be seven dedicated shuttle stops along the route and information will be displayed at each of the stops.

“This type of transport is ideal for short trips, linking public transport services to key precincts and events across the city, while contributing to sustainable transport solutions,” said Mayor Taylor.

RACQ’s Head of Public Policy Susan Furze said the Club was excited to deliver the ground-breaking research in the bustling Main Beach community.

“After two successful trials with Redland City Council at Karragarra Island and Raby Bay, we’re eager to better understand how this technology can be safely integrated into a busier live-traffic environment and its potential to fulfil future transport needs,” Ms Furze said.

“The bus will use high-tech sensors to self-drive around the set route, stopping at designated locations to drop off and pick up passengers.

“We’ll be monitoring how the shuttle interacts with other road users and existing transport services in the area.”

While the RACQ Smart Shuttle is autonomous, a chaperone will be on board to ensure the vehicle is operating safely, assist passengers, and speak with them about how the technology works.

Autonomous vehicle trials have been conducted across several cities in Australia and internationally, which allows the Gold Coast to leverage the learnings to improve the technology even further.

For more information about the Gold Coast Smart Shuttle and for timetable details visit cityofgoldcoast.com.au/smartshuttle

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